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Draft Profiles 2k20: Nico Daws is a huge goalie with lots of promise

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Guelph’s rebuild finally began to pay dividends in 2018, and Nico Daws kept the good times rolling

Analysis:

Here is roughly the arithmetic of goalies in the 2020 NHL Draft:

  • If you are bad and in the top 30 and need a goalie badly, Draft Askarov. He’s great.
  • If you can’t get Askarov, draft Daws.
  • If you can’t get Daws, draft Bednar
  • If you can’t get Bednar, draft Blomquist
  • If you can’t get Blomquist, draft Commesso
  • From there, spitball it.

Nico Daws was previously backup for the Guelph Storm while they were hot on the heels of one of their best seasons ever, with him finally getting the go-ahead to become the starter at the beginning of this year, dropping almost 30 lbs. in a year just to get ready for it. And he took that particular ball and ran with it to an OHL leading SV% and GAA, and a Gold medal at the world juniors!

And why not? Daws is a very structured, hard to beat goalie who tracks the puck very well, with strong positioning, crazy athleticism, and a rock solid glove designed to catch rising wrist and snap shots with minimal effort. His impressive frame also comes to his advantage since he can pretty easily stay aggressive in his net and stop backdoor opportunities simply by having long legs and good reactions, and can stuff 2-on-1’s with an iron will. Being the OHL’s best starter effectively allowed Daws and the Storm to come back from their OHL Championship high and, instead of going back to being bad, keep up their solid record, even if they weren’t a #1 seed team anymore.

As for downsides...He’s not a flashy goalie at all. His style is one based purely on position most of the time and his glove does so much easy work it almost gives the impression he doesn’t have the “big save” in him. He does, it’s just based on big leg stops rather than glove saves. Further, while his glove is strong, his blocker side could use some work, as he tends to be somewhat sluggish with it. Another rather troubling knock against him is, that on the biggest stage available to him, he blew it. Giving up 6 goals and losing the starting job at the World Juniors is a bad look, and that was a game so bad for Canada it almost cost Alexis Lafreniere time to be Alexis Lafreniere. He would’ve had the chance to make up for it in the playoffs but...yeah.

Further, as a young lad turned overager behind another solid goaltender who only recently got his shot at starter numbers, Daws has played a very short number of games, and desperately needs them so that he can continue his development. Drafting him will involve him being a longer-term project so that he can get a heavier workload and really show what he’s capable of, which has scouts sort of looking at him with a lot of interest and concern; what is he really? Is he as good as this year suggested? Was the World Juniors a fluke?

We’re not going to know until 2021, regretfully.

Daws projections all leads to one thing: Starter for an NHL team if everything goes as planned. He’s got the size, the looks, the toolset, everything you need to make one “NHL Starting goaltender in the year 2024-28, give or take.” He’s by far one of the easiest goalie to keep track of since he’ll likely spend a year in the OHL as a starter again, and will likely be the first goalie of the draft taken. As for where, goalies tend to be great for the 2nd through 5th rounds, and he will likely stay on the board for at least the first two. If the Bruins get a shot at him in the 3rd round, I say they he’s more than worth a shot.

After all, thinking about the future of Boston goaltending should be something everyone is doing over the next few years.

Rankings:

1st by NHL Central Scouting among NA Goaltenders

88th by McKeen’s Hockey

Statistics

Year Team League Games Played Goals-Against Save Percentage
Year Team League Games Played Goals-Against Save Percentage
2017-18 Guelph Storm OHL 14 4.06 0.88
2018-19 Guelph Storm OHL 20 3.25 0.893
2019-20 Guelph Storm OHL 38 2.48 0.924
EliteProspects.com and OHL.com